The magic lives on

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Original Star Magic artists (from left) Piolo Pascual, Bea Alonzo, Angelica Panganiban, John Lloyd Cruz, Jodi Sta. Maria and Jericho Rosales
PHOTOS COURTESY OF STAR MAGIC

ABS-CBN’s biggest stars share why they choose to stay with Star Magic

That Angelica Panganiban, Piolo Pascual, John Lloyd Cruz, Jericho Rosales, Jodi Sta. Maria and Bea Alonzo thrive in an industry where network-switching is the norm, their loyalty to ABS-CBN throughout their careers is truly admirable.

Considered six of the network’s biggest stars—and arguably among Philippine showbiz’s A-list celebrities—they are also the longest-staying artists of ABS-CBN’s talent management arm, Star Magic.

Established in 1992, Star Magic is triumphantly celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The talent management arm began when then ABS-CBN Executive Vice President and General Manager Freddie Garcia and Program Director Johnny Manahan decided to gather a stable of new stars to work exclusively for the network. They intially called it the ABS-CBN Talent Center, which pioneered original TV shows Ang TV and Ang TV Generation 2.

Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo

From 1995 onwards, during which time the department also changed its name to Star Magic, they have continued to introduce fresh faces in batches, in what has collectively been dubbed as the “Star Circle” graduates.

Panganiban was launched as part of Batch 2 when she was just nine years old. Since then she transitioned from child star to teen star, and eventually a leading lady who is both skilled in drama and comedy.

Asked why she never considered transferring to another network or management at Star Magic’s thanksgiving press conference, the actress replied, “I started my career in Star Magic and ever since then, I’ve never thought of looking for other people to manage my career. Maybe because I’ve developed a deep trust in Star Magic that I no longer want to invest in new people.”

Pascual, meanwhile, was launched as part of Batch 3 in 1996. From a looker who had minor stints on TV, Pascual catapulted to fame and became the ultimate leading man with blockbuster movies, sold out concerts, and even platinum recordings.

Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano

Asked the same question, Pascual explained, “As I said before, I started my career with ABS-CBN and I’m going to end it with them as well. I’d rather retire or leave the business [now]than end my ties with Star Magic. This has always been my choice. If not for ABS and Star Magic—our bosses and the collaborative effort of the team—we wouldn’t be here.”

Rosales, on the other hand, has a different story. The actor and singer was discovered in Eat Bulaga’s Mr. Pogi segment in 1996, but launched as part of Star Circle Batch 4 in 1997. He became a household name via leading man roles for TV shows like Pangako Sa ‘Yo and Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas, among others. Thereafter, Rosales explored new opportunities with Manila Genesis Entertainment and Management, Inc.

“Mine’s a different case. Alam naman nating lahat na rebelde ako dati,” Rosales jested when it was his turn at the hot seat.

“But for me, it’s not about the people that I’ve worked with but the journey that I took. I’m very happy with my decisions and am glad to have worked with the people I met [outside Star Magic]. But the point is, I started with Star Magic an this is a healthy, happy loving family, and we always go back to family di ba?”

Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador

Belonging to the talent center’s Batch 5 is another sought-after actor in John Lloyd Cruz. Since starring in teen drama Tabing Ilog, he went on to become not only an in-demand leading man but an award-winning actor as well. His most recent triumphs were at the Star Asia Award and the 15th New York Asian Film Festival for his critically-acclaimed film Honor Thy Father.

“As for me, it’s out of the question [to leave the network and Star Magic]. You’re with the best talent firm in the country, so why would you even think of going to the second best?” Cruz shared.

His Tabing Ilog co-star, Sta. Maria, on the other hand was launched in Batch 7. Playing both lead and antagonist roles, she maintained a steady string of shows until she became a household sweetheart with Please Be Careful with My Heart in 2012. Her remarkable roles as Amor Powers in the 2015 remake of Pangako Sa’Yo further earned her a best actress nomination from the prestigious International Emmys.

“I’ve stayed with Star Magic because I don’t have any reason to leave. Panatag ako dun sa alaga at pagmamahal na binigay sa akin ng Star,” Sta. Maria shared during her turn at the press conference.

Finally, the youngest among the six is Alonzo who is currently starring in the primetime drama A Love to Last. Launched in 2010 as part of Star Circle Batch 10, Alonzo showed her acting prowess early on as she bagged lead after lead, as well as mature roles despite her young age.

“For me, aside from the bosses, I would like to thank our handlers [in Star Magic for taking care of us]. Others might think their job [of micro-managing Star Magic artists]is easy but it’s really difficult. There are times they set aside their own family to take care of us. So as for me, our handlers are one of the reasons why I have stayed,” Alonzo shared.

Besides the six, Star Magic’s numerous artists—both young and long-time talents—are set to make the silver anniversary of the talent center even more magical with concert tours, new movies and television shows, as well as book offerings.

The celebration kicked off on ASAP last Sunday, and will continue throughout 2017.

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